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New commitment to deepen work on severe AI risks concludes AI Seoul Summit

27 nations, including the United Kingdom, Republic of Korea, France, United States, United Arab Emirates, as well as the European Union, have signed up to developing proposals for assessing AI risks over the coming months, in a set of agreements that bring the AI Seoul Summit to an end. 

The Seoul Ministerial Statement sees countries agreeing for the first time to develop shared risk thresholds for frontier AI development and deployment, including agreeing when model capabilities could pose ‘severe risks’ without appropriate mitigations. This could include helping malicious actors to acquire or use chemical or biological weapons, and AI’s ability to evade human oversight, for example by manipulation and deception or autonomous replication and adaptation.   

Countries have now set the ambition of developing proposals alongside AI companies, civil society, and academia for discussion ahead of the AI Action Summit which is due to be hosted by France. The move marks an important first step as part of a wider push to develop global standards to address specific AI risks.  

This follows a wide-ranging agreement to the “Frontier AI Safety Commitments”, which were signed by 16 AI technology companies yesterday from across the globe including the US, China, Middle East and Europe – a world first.  Unless they have already done so, leading AI developers will also now publish safety frameworks on how they will measure the risks of their frontier AI models, ahead of the AI Action Summit.   

Concluding the AI Seoul Summit, countries discussed the importance of supporting AI innovation and inclusivity. They recognised the transformative benefits of AI for the public sector, and committed to supporting an environment which nurtures easy access to AI-related resources for SMEs, start-ups and academia. They also welcomed the potential for AI to provide significant advances in resolving the world’s greatest challenges, such as climate change, global health, food and energy security.   

UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said:   

“It has been a productive two days of discussions which the UK and the Republic of Korea have built upon the ‘Bletchley Effect’ following our inaugural AI Safety Summit which I spearheaded six months ago.     

“The agreements we have reached in Seoul mark the beginning of Phase Two of our AI Safety agenda, in which the world takes concrete steps to become more resilient to the risks of AI and begins a deepening of our understanding of the science that will underpin a shared approach to AI safety in the future.   

 “For companies, it is about establishing thresholds of risk beyond which they won’t release their models. For countries, we will collaborate to set thresholds where risks become severe. The UK will continue to play the leading role on the global stage to advance these conversations.”  

Minister Lee Jong-Ho of the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea said:   

“Through this AI Seoul Summit, 27 nations and the EU have established the goals of AI governance as safety, innovation and inclusion. In particular governments, companies, academia, civil society from various countries have together advanced to strengthen global AI safety capabilities and explore an approach on sustainable AI development.   

“We will strengthen global cooperation among AI safety institutes worldwide and share successful cases of low-power AI chips to help mitigate the global negative impacts on energy and the environment caused by the spread of AI.  

”We will carry forward the achievements made in R.O.K and U.K. to the next summit in France, and look forward to minimizing the potential risks and side effects of AI while creating more opportunities and benefits.”  

Nations have also pledged to boost international cooperation on the science of AI safety. Following on from its interim publication in the run up to the AI Seoul Summit, the International Scientific Report on the Safety of Advanced AI will continue to underpin this shared approach to AI safety science. States have resolved to support future reports on AI risk and looked forward to the next iteration of the Report, due to be published in time for the AI Action Summit. The Report is designed to facilitate a shared science-based understanding of the risks associated with frontier AI among global policymakers, and to sustain that understanding as capabilities continue to increase, helping support safe AI innovation. 

The discussions at the AI Seoul Summit and November’s talks at Bletchley Park continue to drive forward the global focus on AI safety, innovation, and inclusivity. Governments, academia, and the wider AI community will now prepare for the AI Action Summit in France, to once again address how the benefits of this generation-defining technology can be realised across the globe. 

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